Sunday, June 13, 2010

I need a holiday

So I do post again after all. I arrive at Heathrow on Wednesday, check in, sit down, relax. Or try to. A message flashes up on the screen: with typical German precision it tells me my flight to Frankfurt is delayed by 58 minutes. Whoa, that makes my connection to Bangkok a bit tight, doesn't it? I ask at the desk. Apparently my flight isn't really delayed at all, and that message was just a precaution due to the bad weather. And, you know, my connecting flight will probably take off late anyway, so on average I'll be fine. Huh?! I don't care about on average; I want to know about this flight.

Anyway my plane takes off, we end up in an electrical storm, we spend some time circling at the other end, then finally we get the OK to land. Phew. But at the last minute the pilot pulls out of the landing and we head towards Stuttgart where we spend an hour or so on the ground to refuel. I'm philosophical about this: if the pilot isn't comfortable with the conditions he shouldn't land. We arrive at Frankfurt three hours late to a round of applause. At 2am, after much faffing around by Lufthansa (to me the airline epitomise German unhelpfulness but don't show much sign of German efficiency), I get put up in a rather swanky hotel and in the morning I have an equally swanky breakfast.

I'm rebooked on a Thai Airways flight and I'm happy about that, though that would mean I'd miss my Air Asia flight from Bangkok to Bali by minutes. I try to phone Air Asia from my room to change my flight - I'd written down several phone numbers before just in case - but the "press one, press two" thing didn't work and I'm billed ten euros for a bunch of pointless phone calls. I then use the phone at reception but Air Asia tell me I can't change my flight at such short notice. My god. Maybe I'll get something back on my insurance but I wouldn't bank on it.

Frankfurt airport was horrible: their thermostat was turned up to max and everyone had to drink bottled water, ridiculously priced at two quid for a small bottle, just to survive. I have to say that the Thai flight was excellent and I thoroughly recommend them to anybody. When I arrived at Bangkok I had one question: where the hell are my bags?! I was told they'd be coming on the next Lufthansa flight in, uh, half a day. I hadn't changed since London and was feeling decidedly dirty.

A couple of hours after arriving at the hotel, my bags magically turn up with the word RUSH on them. It felt great to change into some new clothes. Who knows what flight my bags had been on. At the hotel I use the internet to book another Air Asia flight to Bali (I could have gone with Thai but that would have cost me megabahts). I'll be staying a bit longer in Bangkok, and nine nights in Bali instead of the twelve I'd planned.

My hotel room is huge: it's got two double beds just for me. I've got the opposite problem to the one I had at Frankfurt airport: the air con is set to freezing, but I can live with that. I played with the controls for a while, then noticed the air con remote has the number of the room next door on it. Perhaps my neighbour has my controls. "Air con wars" has a certain ring to it. "You think you can make me sweat, well take that, mister!" Next to my bed is a price list. It seems everything in my room is for sale. A hand towel is 100 baht or about two quid. The fridge is 7000 baht. Maybe I could buy the fridge and hitch-hike around Thailand with it, then write a book about it.

Last night I grabbed some food from a street stall across the road. It was cheap and tasty though I couldn't quite tell what the meat was, and as I ate it I was surrounded by dogs. Breakfast this morning included Spam and didn't quite match that hotel in Frankfurt. I'm now about to take a taxi into central Bangkok; the hotel staff have assured me that it's OK.

Living with my gran meant living in a clockless, calendarless world. With all that messing around with planes I now have very little idea of what time it is, or what day. Whether it's night or day is about all I can handle.

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